New car registrations flat in February

New car registrations dipped by 2.5% in February, as is to be expected in one of the quieter months of the year. A drop is traditional ahead of the March plate change, with February sales typically accounting for just 3.3% of the annual total.  

March is usually one of the busiest months for new registrations, so, according to Paul Everitt of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), it should provide a clearer indication of the true health of the industry.

He added: “It is extremely important that the Chancellor uses this month’s Budget to strengthen consumer and business confidence by encouraging private sector investment and avoiding any further squeeze on living standards.”

The SMMT expects total 2012 registrations to be around 1.2million, behind last year’s 1.4million. A stable marketplace is, though, dependant on economic factors, including fuel duty and taxation.  

Diesel engines continue to be more popular than petrols, perhaps thanks to the larger market share taken by fleet and business vehicles, which accounted for 59.4% of registrations.

The Ford Focus overtook the Fiesta in February to be the month’s most popular car. It knocked its smaller stable mate into second place, followed by the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Corsa and Vauxhall Astra. The full top ten is featured below. 


Febrary sales

Ford Focus


Ford Fiesta


Volkswagen Golf


Vauxhall Corsa


Vauxhall Astra


Volkswagen Passat


Vauxhall Insignia


Volkswagen Polo


BMW 3 Series


Nissan Qashqai




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